The Natural History Museum embodies englishness in a transnational, worldwide way. It is home to everything from Dinosaurs, ancient trees, and prehistoric rocks, to newly discovered tree frogs and butterflies. This space preserves a history of nature and opens its doors to educate individuals about the vastness of our planet.
The building itself is an incredible example of iconic spaces in London. Its architecture is ornate and intricate. A massive vaulted ceiling greets you as you walk in and a person realizes that even the presentation of history is important. Britain takes great pride in its presentation of nature. It is an interesting idea, to preserve nature within the walls of a building. Each hallway of the museum is a different time period or theme, all neatly organized and categorized.
Walking through the exhibits in this museum was interesting but chaotic, there were children running, parents arguing, people bustling around from one place to another. Places like these give me mixed feelings. On one hand I love the exhibits and all the knowledge that can be gained by reading the plaques and taking in the imagery of the place. It is like walking through a history book! On the other hand, it is impossible to have a quiet moment to reflect and soak in the immense amount information that is presented in a place like this.
The Natural History Museum also has a interactive and vast website which I found useful after leaving. I needed more time to digest everything that was lining those halls! The website helped, the Dino directory especially was cool since it was the most fun exhibit.
The question I asked myself while I was walking through the museum was how it reflected on Englishness. The purpose of the museum is to preserve nature from all over the world. This can be found outside of the museum though. Churches with their ornate and old architecture preserve, in their stone, the culture that they were built in. The museum preserves englishness within its walls. There may be apes from Africa and whales from the ocean but they are on english soil and have become in a way english themselves.
Here are links to some of the major natural history museums in America. Compare and contrast! Are they free? Open for many hours? How accessible are their websites?
Los Angeles Natural History Museum
The Natural History Museum
Before you enter the Museum you are taken back by the beautiful detail and texture of the building itself. The building represents an old style century design and was huge in size. The Natural history Museum first struck me by how detailed the architecture was throughout the whole entire building. It resembled almost the inside of a church Cathedral. There were several amounts of detail on the walls. The windows were also placed as a church may have looked as well. I believe that churches are a big influence on the designs of buildings throughout the city of London itself. The arcs on the top of the ceiling were beautiful. London is known for its very detailed architecture buildings and designs. This is an example of the space of London and how its buildings are occupied in it. That is “Englishness” and a tradition of London. It was interesting to see the dinosaur bones they had there as you entered the building. This was interesting because it made the exhibit very impressive as I first walked into the building. There were several monuments of different historical people. The live robotic dinosaur exhibit was very interesting and different.
Inside each exhibit were different types of animals, mammals, and other creatures. What made each exhibit a little bit different from the museums in New York was that they all seem to have that architecture look to them because of the walls that are surrounding the exhibits. I feel that if the walls would have been plain or dull, that the exhibits would not have given me the same impression that they did with the detailing. It also was very interesting to see the different types of animals that they had on display.
The Museum itself was very busy. There were a lot of lines and people stopping to take pictures. The museum had many different people from all different places around the world. There were many different languages I heard throughout the exhibit. Since London is known for its diversity of bringing different people to its city, this museum would no doubt be a popular one. I believe that the tourist attraction to the Natural History Museum is part of London’s actual “Englishness”. I believe that it is a part of London’s “Englishness” because there are an unbelievable amount of monuments and sights to explore in London. The city is unlike any city’s I have seen. One thing I have noticed is that London preserves its older buildings. Even though this museum was not necessarily an older building, I believe that the design of the building was definitely influenced by the older ones. One thing I really enjoyed about the museum is watching so many different people together enjoying the history of our world. It doesn’t matter where they are from; everyone was interested in the same thing there. I’ve never been to museum where it was so diverse and cultured. I believe that the culture is another reason that really gave me a sense of Englishness in the museum.